Little Mosque On The Prairie

Eid's a Wonderful Life

A Celebration of Life and Attempted Murder

Christmas is around the corner and Sarah's blue. She misses the fun and pageantry of her pre-conversion Christmases. Rayyan vows to make this year's Muslim festival, Eid alhada (sic), a little more Christmassy to cheer up her mom ... (CBC)

Since the Little Mosque won't tell you much about what the festival of Eid is all about, I guess I will have to.

Eid refers to an annual Islamic festival of Ul Adha (not alhada). It is annual in a very broad sense since Islamic holidays follow the lunar calendar, which means that on occasion, it is celebrated twice in a solar year.

The Islamic calendar is based on a lunar cycle of twelve months (29 or 30 days) making the Islamic year approximately 354 days long. Islam (610 - 632 AD) is a product of the Dark Ages (400 - 900 AD) when most of the science of the Greeks and Romans was temporality lost. This may explain why Allah choose the primitive inaccurate lunar calendar over a more accurate scientific solar calendar such as the Julian Calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 45 BC and which divided a 365 day year into 12 months and added a leap day to February every four years.

10:5 It is He Who made the sun a bright radiance and the moon a light, and determined phased for it so that you may know the number of years and the reckoning. Allah did not created that except in truth, expounding the Signs to a people who know.

Eid ul Adha means Festival of The Sacrifice. It is the second official holiday in Islam, the first being the Festival of the Fast Breaking after the month-long fast of Ramadan. The Festival of The Sacrifice occurs after the period of the major pilgrimage to Mecca (the Hajj) and celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael after interpreting a dream as a request from Allah that he do so.

The Koran is not only a book of instructions for the believers on how they should behave and how Allah is to be worshipped, it is also about fixing errors in the Bible, both the Old and New Testament. Muslims believe in most of the prophets of the Bible. The Koran mentions 21 of them by name (read Shared Prophets).

Allah acknowledges that He sent the prophets of the Bible with his message for mankind but that the message they delivered on His behalf was either misinterpreted, badly delivered, not well received or corrupted over the centuries. This is why He sent the angel Gabriel to dictate the Koran, His last and final instructions for mankind, to the perfect human being who could be expected to do a better job than all the other prophets who came before.

That perfect human being is the Prophet Muhammad. As God's greatest and last messenger he would set the record straight as to which son Abraham attempted to offer as a sacrifice to Allah. The Bible claims it was Isaac. The Koran would beg to differ. It was Ishmael, and the attempted sacrifice occurred in Mecca on an altar originally built by Adam, of Adam and Eve fame, and rebuilt by Abraham. Ishmael was also a willing volunteer who encouraged his father to do the deed.

37:102 Then, when he attained the age of consorting with him, he said: “My son, I have seen in sleep that I am slaughtering you. See what you think.” He said: “My father, do what you are commanded; you will find me, Allah willing, one of the steadfast.”

37:103 Then, when they both submitted and he flung him down upon his brow;

37:104 And We called out to Him “O Abraham,

37:105 “You have believed the vision.” Thus We reward the beneficent.

37:106 This, indeed, is the manifest trial.

37:107 And We ransomed him with a large sacrifice.

37:108 And we left him for later generations:

37:109 “Peace be upon Abraham.”

Islam considers Hagar, which the Bible claims was Sarah's handmaiden i.e. slave, as a legitimate wife of Abraham and her son Ishmael, by the Patriarch of Arabs and Jews, his first heir. The Koran is quite clear on the order of birth. As a reward for Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Ishmael, Allah will grant him another son which will be none other than Isaac.

37:110 Thus, We reward the beneficent.

37:111 He is indeed one of Our believing servants.

37:112 And We announced to him the good news of Isaac as a Prophet, one of the righteous.

In 2007, the year this episode was first broadcast, the three days of Eid ul Adha, the Festival of The Sacrifice begin on December 19. It’s a bit of a stretch to equate the Festival of Sacrifice which is a celebration of an aborted human sacrifice with the birth of Christ.

I have learnt not to underestimate the writers of Little Mosque when it comes to finding absurd parallels to try to portray Islam as no different than Christianity.

Bernard Payeur